Falsifying Darwin

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Department of Earth Sciences
Climate Change Institute

University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469

20 March 2011

Karl Popper, a noted philosopher of science in the 20th Century, proposed a test to determine if a particular theory qualified as a scientific theory. To qualify, it had to be “falsifiable” in the sense that a demonstration it was false had to exist. Falsifiability is not the opposite of “verifiability” because no truly scientific theory can be verified. It can only be shown to be compatible or incompatible with studies of the same natural system by independent investigators. Any number of such studies can be compatible, but that does not constitute verification. Only one incompatible study is needed to falsify the theory.

Charles Darwin himself admitted this. He often stated that his whole theory of evolution by means of natural selection would collapse if any organism could be shown to not result from any number of apparently insignificant changes in its physical structure over a sufficiently long span of time. Popper’s test of falsifiability has spread throughout science. For example, Newtonian physics could not account for the relativity of time and space that was proposed by Albert Einstein, and then confirmed by experiments ranging from studying the nuclei of atoms to the visible universe. That discovery did not falsify Newtonian physics. It only demonstrated that Einsteinian physics encompassed Newtonian physics, which remained a very good approximation to physical conditions existing on Planet Earth. Forces studied by Newton on Earth also exist in the Universe.

The greatest challenge to Darwinian Evolution theory today is Intelligent Design theory. Darwinian Evolution is based on the proposition that biological evolution is the result of natural selection in Nature acting on random mutations in the nuclei of reproductive cells in organisms at the time of reproduction, so these changes (which are almost always minor, as required by Darwin) exist in the mature organism when it reproduces itself. The changes must enhance the organism’s ability to survive whatever impediments Nature imposes upon it. Intelligent Design theory challenges the assumption that random mutations at the cellular level can produce the genetic complexity of DNA and associated structures needed to sustain biological evolution. Statistical studies show random mutations required by Darwinian Evolution have zero probability of producing a human being over the timespan of Earth’s existence. Mutations can’t be random. They are directed. The genetic dice are loaded.

The challenge from Intelligent Design theory and the increasing evidence of genetic complexity in Nature have forced advocates of Darwinian Evolution to make a seemingly endless number of ad hoc assumptions that in toto make Darwinian Evolution increasingly impossible to defend on purely scientific grounds. Its advocates in desperation have turned to the courts in America to seek rulings that Intelligent Design cannot be taught in public schools because it violates “separation of Church and State,” a concept not found in the U.S. Constitution but extracted from the First Amendment anyway by activist judges. Most recently, Judge Jones in Pennsylvania has made this ruling, writing his decision virtually word-by-word from the brief submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union, the plaintiff in the case.

The Jones ruling is ironic. The first judge to rule on Darwinian Evolution presided over the Scopes “monkey trial” in Tennessee. He ruled in favor of William Jennings Bryan, who as plaintiff argued against Darwinian Evolution. Cherry picking judges to decide scientific questions was scorned by the Darwinianists, but in Judge Jones they now employ that tactic. Such is the scientific bankruptcy of Darwinian Evolution.

Let’s have some fun. Here it is worth noting that Darwinian Evolution stands on two legs. One is natural selection as proposed by Darwin himself. The other is genetic mutation, a branch of science founded by a Roman Catholic monk in Poland, Gregor Mendel. Mendel’s Laws of Heredity are the foundation of genetics. If “Separation of Church and State” is to be the criterion for deciding what can and cannot be taught in science classes in public schools, then the Darwinists must abandon “random” genetic mutations as one leg of Darwinism. Darwin knew nothing of genetics anyway. Mendel’s work was published a few decades after Darwin’s, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” published in 1859. Mendel’s “Catholic” leg should be amputated as violating Separation of Church and State. Darwin should be forced to teeter on his own atheistic leg: “natural selection” with nothing from which to select.

Today Darwin’s magnum opus is simply called “On the Origin of Species.” Darwin’s concept of “favoured races” fit well with British imperialism in the 19th Century, a racist enterprise if ever there was one, but doesn’t “play” today. Not after Auschwitz. There is no moral order in Darwinian Evolution. “Survival of the fittest” is all that counts. One of the ad hoc assumptions used to keep Darwinism afloat today is that a “moral sense” can somehow come about from purely physical random mutations acted upon by natural selection. None of these ad hoc assumptions can be falsified in the Popper sense, of course, so they aren’t scientific. They are creedal statements in what amounts to a Religion of Atheism.

Despite Auschwitz, it’s possible to have more fun with Darwinian Evolution. Anthropologists who search for fossils of early “hominids” to adorn a Family Tree of human evolution place great store on fossil skulls, especially fossil brainpans. The skulls with the highest most vertical foreheads and the largest brainpans are always placed highest on this Family Tree, especially if the inside of the brainpan has ridges that match convolutions in the cerebrum of the missing brain. I’m an emeritus professor in the Climate Change Institute and the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Maine. I sent the CCI director and the ESD chairman an e-mail last summer suggesting that when they step down from these positions their replacements should be selected on who has the highest, steepest foreheads and the largest brainpans if the faculty really believe in Darwinian Evolution. Scientific and educational credentials are secondary. They were not amused.

Here’s more fun. The Research News section of Science, the official journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, on pages 1232-1234 of the 12 December 1980 issue (it can be accessed Online), carried the headline, “Is Your Brain Really Necessary?” Showcased was a student at Sheffield University in England “who has an IQ of 126, has gained a first-class honors degree in mathematics and is socially completely normal. And yet the boy has virtually no brain,” according to John Lorber, a British neurologist. A brain scan showed the student did have a brain, but the cerebrum was only one millimeter thick, it was plastered against the brainpan, and was separated from the brain stem by cerebrospinal fluid. In common parlance, the boy was a waterhead. A high vertical forehead and a large brainpan imprinted with ridges conforming to convolutions of the cerebrum (how can a cerebrum one millimeter thick have convolutions?) don’t matter to this student. Yet these are the very criteria for placing ‘humanoids” on a Family Tree that puts us in the top branches. This student isn’t alone. Lorber reports lots of students like this one are walking around and living perfectly normal lives. Some, alas, aren’t. They’re afflicted in various degrees.

Now here’s the punch line. This student and other’s like him have brains that are radically different from the brains of most people. It’s not just a Darwinian “minor departure” from the norm that can be acted upon by natural selection to produce these people. It is a radical departure and natural selection has nothing to do with it. The Sheffield student was in the same natural environment as all the other students. Is not this student (and others like him) the Fasification of Darwinian Evolution? Think about that.

Natural selection in Darwinism depends on random natural processes. Now many of these processes are shown to obey newly-discovered laws of fractal geometry. Is “natural selection” directed? Darwinists cite what they call “junk DNA” as proof of random genetic mutations gone wrong. Now we know “junk” DNA has an essential function. Darwinists cherry-pick their evidence. Out-of-body experiences, fully documented, are off the table because Darwinian evolution has no explanation for it. The lives of the saints and the fully documented miracles associated with them are also off the table for the same reason.

In science, experimental and observational data that don’t fit a prevailing theory are called “outliers” and they are routinely dismissed because they don’t fit the bulk of data that does support the theory. When too many “outliers” appear in the data, however, the theory itself should be called into question. According to Karl Popper, even one data point is enough if it truly exists and can be reproduced scientifically. The Sheffield student truly exists. Science has confirmed there are many more like him. The Sheffield student and the others have falsified Darwinism as a “scientific” theory.

What remains? Intelligent Design theory. Why? Because it provides an explanation for the Sheffield student and others like him if-if-one further postulate is added. Intelligent Design theory postulates that all physical processes, not just in biology but in the Universe, are directed by a supreme Intelligence. Christians and others who accept monotheism identify this Intelligence with God, a pure spirit who created and sustains the Universe and all humanity, but the theory itself does not have to invoke God as revealed in the Bible. The further postulate is found in the Bible. We are created in the “image and likeness” of God, as recorded in Genesis.

What does this mean? It means each of us has an immortal soul created directly by God, in addition to our physical bodies that “evolved” over time until our brains attained a state of physical development that allowed the human brain to be “animated” by our immortal souls. Our souls are the seat of all attributes that make us human. The brain of the Sheffield student had attained this state of physical development even though it has no place on Darwin’s evolutionary family tree. Intelligent Design is necessary to produce a human brain that can be animated by a spiritual soul. Our brains are just errand boys who transmit messages from one soul to another using our bodies. That’s the complete picture.

My father suffered a stroke in the 1960s. I left graduate school at Northwestern University and returned to South Dakota to get him into a veteran’s hospital (he was a World War I vet). At first he spoke only gibberish. Only cuss words came through loud and clear. After physical therapy, more words came back until he had much of his full vocabulary, but spoken with difficulty. I concluded that his soul was fully conscious of his condition the whole time, but was unable to communicate that to me by way of his brain. The cuss words were the voice of his soul’s frustration. His brain was damaged. As it became repaired, it was able to communicate to me what his soul wanted said. The cussing stopped.

I keep that in mind when the “experts” tell me people in a “persistent vegetative state” aren’t worth keeping alive. That’s the conclusion of Darwinism. To me, these are the most valuable people among us. They are the ones who appeal to the higher nature in us, “a little beneath the angels,” and make us the best we can be. The alternative is Darwin’s “dog-eat-dog” world in which we are “dogs” with a brain that provides the tools, physical and mental, of mass destruction. Isn’t that what’s happening today?

The Sheffield student has falsified Darwinism. It isn’t science. It never was. It’s a religion, a religion of mass destruction. The religion of Auschwitz. Gotterdammerung!

Gotterdammerung? The Germanic “Twilight of the Gods”? Yes. To exchange the Biblical view that we were created by the Creator of the Universe and our destiny is to spend eternity with Him for the Darwinian view that we came from worms and our destiny is to be eaten by worms is like Esau exchanging his birthright for pottage. Once that exchange is made there is no incentive for having children. Children make heavy demands on our time, our energy, and our resources. For what purpose? Producing worm food? The populations of Europe and other countries where Charles Darwin has trumped Jesus Christ have stopped replacing themselves. These are the countries inhabited by Darwin’s “favoured races” earmarked for “preservation in the struggle for life.” Yet, by accepting Darwinism, they are the very ones headed for extinction. That’s Gotterdammerung.

Dr. Terrence Hughes has an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Materials Science from Northwestern University.  He has published scores of papers in major scientific journals and two books dealing with glaciation and climate change over a span of 40 years.  He is a member of the advisory council of the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation.


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